Issue 19, 2020

Plasma-driven catalysis: green ammonia synthesis with intermittent electricity


Ammonia is one of the most produced chemicals, mainly synthesized from fossil fuels for fertilizer applications. Furthermore, ammonia may be one of the energy carriers of the future, when it is produced from renewable electricity. This has spurred research on alternative technologies for green ammonia production. Research on plasma-driven ammonia synthesis has recently gained traction in academic literature. In the current review, we summarize the literature on plasma-driven ammonia synthesis. We distinguish between mechanisms for ammonia synthesis in the presence of a plasma, with and without a catalyst, for different plasma conditions. Strategies for catalyst design are discussed, as well as the current understanding regarding the potential plasma-catalyst synergies as function of the plasma conditions and their implications on energy efficiency. Finally, we discuss the limitations in currently reported models and experiments, as an outlook for research opportunities for further unravelling the complexities of plasma-catalytic ammonia synthesis, in order to bridge the gap between the currently reported models and experimental results.

Graphical abstract: Plasma-driven catalysis: green ammonia synthesis with intermittent electricity

Article information

Article type
Critical Review
17 Jun 2020
08 Sep 2020
First published
08 Sep 2020
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Green Chem., 2020,22, 6258-6287

Plasma-driven catalysis: green ammonia synthesis with intermittent electricity

K. H. R. Rouwenhorst, Y. Engelmann, K. van ‘t Veer, R. S. Postma, A. Bogaerts and L. Lefferts, Green Chem., 2020, 22, 6258 DOI: 10.1039/D0GC02058C

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